Backers hope to put Oregon Equal Rights Amendment on fall ballot


PORTLAND (AP) — Supporters are gathering signatures to put a state Equal Rights Amendment against gender discrimination on the November ballot in Oregon.

The question has divided advocates of protection against gender discrimination.

Some say a state-level amendment is needed. Others say that Oregon’s Supreme Court has provided strong protections, and a state-level amendment might lead a judge to conclude that voters intended for guarantees against gender discrimination to be stronger than those against discrimination based on race, religion or sexual orientation.

Proposals for a state-level Equal Rights Amendment didn’t make it through the Legislature, leading to the initiative drive, The Oregonian reported Monday.

Leanne Littrell DiLorenzo, the president of, said it isn’t enough to have protection against gender discrimination resting on case law.

“Shouldn’t women be explicitly equal in every constitution?” she said. “To me, the answer is an absolute ‘Yes, of course.’”

The Oregon chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union hasn’t taken a stand on the rewritten state-level measure now being proposed, Executive Director David Fidanque said.

“We’re going to take another look at it here in the next few months depending on how the signature gathering goes,” Fidanque said. “I think the way it’s written now, it shouldn’t do any harm, which was our major concern in the spring.”

A national Equal Rights Amendment is needed because the federal government treats sex discrimination differently from racial and other forms of discrimination, he said, but that’s not the case under state law, Fidanque said.

The campaign to pass a state amendment coincides with a revived national campaign to pass a federal Equal Rights Amendment. That amendment, approved by Congress in 1972, never went into effect because it fell three states short of the minimum 38 states needed for ratification.

Proponents of the state measure will need 116,284 valid signatures to place the initiative on the ballot. The backers have been gathering signatures since the measure was approved for circulation on Dec. 20. Littrell DiLorenzo said paid petition-gatherers were to join the effort on Monday.



campbell_rd says...

We have equality, it's called the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Maybe if we used them as intended we wouldn't have these issues. Any more laws will give special rights, not equal rights!

Posted 31 December 2013, 3:15 p.m. Suggest removal

thepapermeansomething says...

If you call the Constitution and the Bill of Rights "Equality" then how do you explain why women couldn't vote under the original and remains today Article I, Section 20-where women could not vote, keep their own names, own property and work the same hours as men or the same number of hours as men, and the list goes on?

Here's the deal...Why should half (actually the majority 50.5%) of the Oregon population not have explicit equality in the Oregon Constitution when historically and not so historicallly long ago they were totally discriminated against? Obviously, the "equality" in the Oregon Constitution did not provide "equality" for half the population.
Special rights? Really? Any question as to why now or why at all about women having explicit equality in the Constitution is only further proof of the need.
We can't change the minds of people technically speaking, but we can change the official document to ensure that women again will not be vulnerable to reasons of "governmental interest" or "state interest" or case law that can be overturned, interpreted differently by different judges, etc. At least the Oregon Constitution will say what Article I, Section 20 should have always been interpreted as from 1857 and on.

It's awfully nice day sky, you join the effort and help collect signatures to place the ERA on the ballot?
We can talk more about this while we are on the street collecting signatures....send an email to!
Thank you for taking your time and caring enough to discuss this...this is a good thing!

Posted 4 January 2014, 12:45 p.m. Suggest removal

Log in to comment